Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Election 2008 and the Evangelical Dilemma

The Christian Right (Religious Right, whatever you want to call them) faces a dilemma at the moment and I'm not sure they even see it...

In 1979 when Rev. Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. founded the Moral Majority, the Christian Right in America entered a golden era of political influence. Leaders like Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson (to name just a few) wanted to bring America back to God, and wanted government to reflect the values of the Bible.

The most heated issue on the Evangelical plate is abortion. Sure, they're against gay marriage, have strong views on educational issues (like prayer in school, vouchers, the teaching of evolution, etc), and want to see God incorporated more into government with things like the posting of the Ten Commandments in courthouses. But abortion is THE issue.

The dilemma they have is that Democrats (like me) all belong to a party that supports a woman's "right" to choose to have an abortion. That's the consensus of the Democratic Party. there are individual party members (like me) who don't believe in abortion; but the Party does. So the Religious Right can't support a Democrat. But none of the Republicans this go around are particularly interested in religion. Economics, yes; religion, no. Except for one: Mitt Romney.

I said that I don't think the Christian Right see their dilemma. What I mean is that the Christian Right thinks that their dilemma is that they don't have a really good candidate to support. Rudy Giuliani is leading in most of the national polls among GOP candidates. But he's not very strong on abortion (and he's been divorced umpteen times). I think their dilemma is that they could end up embracing Romney as a candidate. Romney is leading at the moment in Iowa and New Hampshire; if he wins those races he could gain a lot of momentum...

Don't misunderstand me. This is analytical, not emotional. I don't have a problem with Mormons. But if the idea originally was to take America back to God, the Christian Right ought to be skeptical about the whether a Mormon doing that. Why? Without making this a profoundly theological discussion,
  • Christians (especially members of the Christian Right) believe that Jesus Christ was God Incarnate (made into a human being); Mormons don't.
  • Christian believe that Jesus died to rescue us from a hopeless bondage to sin; Mormons don't. Mormons believe he came to live a good life, teach, and set an example for us to follow.
  • Christians believe that we get to Heaven by having faith in Jesus and trusting in the fact that he died for our sins; Mormons believe that we get to Heaven by being good (an error that half the books in the New Testament, particularly Galatians and Hebrews, were written to refute).

Mormons aren't Christians. Mormons find this statement offensive. Unapologetically, I regret that. But in years (centuries) past those who believed as Romney does would have been called heretics.

The dilemma for the Christian Right? Do they embrace a heretic who is against gay marriage and shares a few other political goals with them, or do they embrace someone they disagree with but who at least pays lip service to the fundamental truths of Christianity, or do they stay home on election day?

The irony, if they end up endorsing Romney, is that he's not that strong on abortion...

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